Republic started fast, but not fast enough. The Tigers couldn’t capitalize on an early lead, suffering their first loss of the year to Rolla Friday, 56-48. Republic led by as many as eight points in the first half, but coach Tim Brown says it could have been more.
“I thought in the first half … we had a lot of missed opportunities at that point. We were doing a pretty good job defensively, and I thought we weren’t rewarding ourselves on the offensive end,” Brown says. “We got in a hurry and had a lot of guys trying to make plays on their own––not a lot of togetherness. We tried to make hard plays and had some that just didn’t go our way. We felt like we really could have had a lot more separation than what we had.”
Rolla cut the lead to 20-15 at halftime, thanks to their senior star Alec Buhr. Buhr scored 11 of Rolla’s 15 points in the first half, then carried them in the second. Rolla closed the gap early in the third quarter, eventually taking the lead at 33-31 with a little over a minute left in the period. After scoring just 15 points in the first half, the Bulldogs shredded Republic’s defense for 41 points in the second.
Buhr finished with 25, after scoring 28 in the Bulldogs’ win over Springdale, Ark., Thursday night.
“We didn’t come out in the second half with very much togetherness (or) very much teamwork. And in the second half, our defense was horrendous,” Brown says. “When we guard like that, we’re going to have a lot of nights where we’re upset.”
Broc Smith led Republic with 18 points. Tucker Thomas had ten.
Republic falls to 1-1. The Tigers play Rogersville for third place in the Republic Invitational. Tip-off is scheduled for 2:00. (There will be no live broadcast.)
Broc Smith 18, Tucker Thomas 10, Trent Rackley 8, Drew McMillin 6, Race Looney 6